From the start, New York's stringent schedule for re-opening (aka, Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3, etc.) has been contingent on increased testing for Coronavirus and COVID-19 antibodies, along with contact tracing. Now, as part of that effort, Brooklyn firm SITU/Studio and Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects have been selected by the NYC Department of Design and Construction as one of six design teams to develop three new permanent testing sites in The Bronx, Harlem and Queens.
SITU/Studio, which is based in the Navy Yard, has also been busy on a different design proposal of its own—a screening center that can be quickly set-up at basketball courts, parks and plazas across the city. The structures are conceived as walk-through alternatives to the drive-in facilities that have already popped up in suburban and rural areas.
The Patient Screening Booths, as they're called, are part of SITU/Studio's ongoing push to promote new Covid-19 testing strategies for urban areas. In this particular plan, the Booths, which look like a combination bank teller window, airport body-scanning machine and biohazard lab, are arrayed on either side of a large tent housing medical practitioners protected by sheets of transparent acrylic. Personnel administer the tests (which involve poking a swab on a very long stick up your nose) using pairs of elbow-length plastic gloves sealed to the outside of each partition.
Other forms of evaluation (with pulse oximeters or stethoscopes) can also be made, and booths are disinfected after each use. The layout for the facility, which also includes a check-in kiosk, can be re-configured for a particular site.
As for SITU Studio's collaboration with Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects, it's part of the DCC's accelerated timetable to get testing centers up and running for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene within eight weeks to coincide with Phase 4 of the city's reopening. SITU Studio is also in talks with certain hospitals about deploying the Patient Screening Booth design at some point in the near future, though details have yet to be finalized.
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